I feel compelled to speak for a moment about this deck's "budget-ness." It's very difficult right now to build a worthwhile Constructed deck without at least some number of cards that are relatively difficult to acquire. I've made a conscious decision to value the quality of my decks over their accessibility. The decklists I present are still significantly easier to find the cards for than other mainstream decks. Most importantly, these decks are very capable of winning tournaments and letting you have a good time while playing and learning the tenets of deck building. These decks still qualify as budget. Budget is a subjective concept, and I feel it's unreasonable to give it a concrete value.
Not trying to drift from the original topic at hand, but is there a more budget-friendly option to....well, most of the deck? It seems like Inkmoth Nexus's are $20 a pop, with Skithiryx at around $10, the P. Crusaders about $8, and the Lashwrithes rounding out the "high cost" curve at about $5.Or is that not possible with an infect-based deck?
76125763 wrote:Zindaras' meta is like a fossil, ancient and its secrets yet to be uncovered. Only men of yore, long dead, knew of it.
...But second is in response to this:I feel compelled to speak for a moment about this deck's "budget-ness." It's very difficult right now to build a worthwhile Constructed deck without at least some number of cards that are relatively difficult to acquire. I've made a conscious decision to value the quality of my decks over their accessibility. The decklists I present are still significantly easier to find the cards for than other mainstream decks. Most importantly, these decks are very capable of winning tournaments and letting you have a good time while playing and learning the tenets of deck building. These decks still qualify as budget. Budget is a subjective concept, and I feel it's unreasonable to give it a concrete value.
It's nice that you (finally) replied to the feedback you've been getting every week for as long as I've been reading this column. Unfortunately, you chose to respond by dismissing it. What really annoys me is your refusal to quantify what you consider budget, as that would vastly improve the column and head off a lot of the haters.I post this to say that you've lost at least one reader in your refusal to heed the feedback, instead of just replying to it. Good bye.
Sorry for not hammering it out last night but I was mentally wore out from playing some epic battles all day. I didn't sweep any of my opponents and I used some heavy Jedi mind tricks because my deck had some subpar choices. In my defense I built it at midnight Friday night and made some more last minute changes before registering. I also have a 50 hour work week, a wife, and 10 hours of commuting so my play test time is zero. Luckily I don't care what anyone says but I'm really damn good at playing mono black and I can slide behind the wheel of any mono black deck and push it to the limits.Without further ado, the deck:4 x Plague Stinger4 x Whispering Specter4 x Phyrexian Crusader2 x Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon3 x Virulent Wound3 x Tribute to Hunger2 x Doom Blade2 x Contagion Clasp4 x Tezzeret's Gambit2 x Postmortem Lunge3 x Lashwrithe2 x Batterskull1 x Karn Liberated4 x Inkmoth NexusSwamp4 x Despise4 x Ghost Quarter1 x Virulent Wound2 x Gruesome Encore3 x Surgical Extraction1 x Karn LiberatedI'll post the perfectly tuned list at the end of the report.Round 1: The Suck Pairing. (Mike Handley)Buddy from my LGS. He plays UB infect control. I won the dice roll and pushed him under with Skithiryx game 1. Game 2 he showed me his skithiryx. Game 3 I showed him turn 2 stinger, turn 3 whispering, turn 4 lashwrithe onto whispering forcing him to discard 5 and putting 5 infect on him. He drew and scooped.2-1Round 2: Burning Vengeance (Another Mike)Game 1 Details are sketchy but I don't draw into any crusaders or skithiryx and I can't proliferate out the win before he gets double vengeance online and yadda yadda. Game 2 I lay out a stinger and whispering specter + lashwrithe him for the 5 infect and hand rip. He cannot find a vengeance. Game 3 is close and he pushes me down to 6 but double crusader pushes him under.2-1Round 3: Humans splashing blue (Adam)Game 1 We go back and forth but he's able to play beatdown better than me. I make some bad board decisions because of no testing (and the board wasn't properly set up for this anyway). Game 2 he nut draws out Champ into Champ + Traveler into Crusader. Ouphe.0-2Round 4: Wolf Run (John Spencer)Game 1 is an uphill battle the whole way. He had maindeck geistflames because he told me later he'd tested the matchup and knew it was awful. Weird. He crushed me pretty hard because I had no removals and my creatures got outclassed. Game 2 I reach for the 8 card board in, Despises and Ghost Quarters. This was an epic battle. I lead off with a Despise and rip a Thrun, noting Slime, 2 Land, Beast, and a Rampant. I didn't note a mulligan on him so maybe this was my turn 2 play and I held back to virulent wound in case he laid a bird. Again, notes aren't really detailed. We do some tough back and forth and I sneak in some infect and begin working to proliferate it up because he's rocking geistflames everywhere and has the beast for crusaders. At the most pivotal moment in the game I'm holding double Doom Blade and move to win with a plague stinger. He activates inkmoth... I blade it. He activates another inkmoth... I blade it. This crushes him badly and puts him at 9 counters. He scoops after flipping a land from the topdeck. Game 3 I go inkmoth for a poison on 2, into specter on 3, lashwrithe on 4 for his hand. I win easy from there just ignoring his resolved emissary.2-1Round 5: Burning Vengeance (Earnest)Game 1 I blow him out with crusader carrying a lashwrithe. Game 2 he boards in a lot of permission and I cannot get him past 4 poison. Game 3 I introduce him to specter into lashwrithe.2-1Round 6: Wolf Run (Stephen Strange... I know)Game 1 I play swamp and pass, he plays forest bird and I virulent wound it. I stick a stinger and then a crusader... he slagstorms to trigger his emissary and solemn.... but draws poorly and when I play the lashwrithe he scoops. Game 2 I get him to 5 infect but he gets double primeval titan off the top after I double despise and rip his Garruks. No P-**** in hand. Game 3 we shuffle up like mad and present to cut. I shuffle his deck and hand it back. We draw 7. He looks down and picks up 2 cards off the floor. I wasn't sure of the ruling... because I don't play much... but I'm pretty certain I was over 50% to get a game/match win from this. I call the judge because well.. you have to... and he says you guys presented to cut? And we confirm. he game losses the Wolf Run player and that's the match.2-1Round 7: WU Aggro (Moe)With us both being X-1 we check standings and there'sa lot of X-1s... and the consensus no X-1 can draw in. That's brutal. Game 1 we race hard but he cannot answer Crusader into lashwrithe. Game 2 he has the counter for crusader and lands a Gideon. Mirran Crusader has me on a fast clock. Game 3 I've got tributes for his mirran crusaderS and I give him the ole whispering specter + lashwrithe... via postmortem lunge. He struggles to find a blue from there and I finish him quickly. We finished this match in like 20 minutes tops because of how hateful crusaders are for the opposition.2-1Quarterfinals: Gavony Tokens (Stephanie)Poor girl was a nervous wreck. I did my best to calm her down and encourage her to smile but the fact she Top 8'd put her on bad tilt.Game 1 we have a pretty epic struggle. I race her haunting tokens which are very effective against me and sneak crusader by. I tribute these tokens (which were 4/4s and 5/5s) to keep racing. I work her to 8 infect... she throws out a timely reinforcements which gets parallel lives-ed into 18 power against my 14 life from 2 pump spells. I'm thinking... 'so...'... and she's about to pass turn... but drops an Avacyn's Pilgrim. My crusader looks up at me and says , 'That seems really good right now.' I untap... I've got 4 lands in play, skithiryx in hand, batterskull, and a tezz gambit. What an apt name. I pay 2 and tap 3 to gambit knowing I can rip wound for the pilgrim, or land + blade and win. I rip double land. Game 2 I show her my whispering specter + lashwrithe while she's stacking pump spells. I win. Game 3 I mull but sneak in some fast infect from Plague Stinger and inkmoth. She taps out for more pumps and I cast Skithiryx with haste. She draws the top card and scoops.2-1Semifinals: Humans, splashing Gavony (Zack)Game 1 We have a good race... losing the details badly here. I get him to 7 infect but he beats me the turn before I could get him. That's how it goes. Game 2 I double mulligan to 5. He said to the crowd that he felt pretty good about his hand after that. ****. I showed him whispering specter into lashwrithe and took it from him. Then I activated inkmoth next turn, paid 4 to writhe it and killed him.Game 3 he unloads his hand quickly, showing a lot of green creatures. That's really good against me. Including double mayors. Which is really good. I doom blade a mayor and use crusaders to whittle down big werewolf... he starts gassing out and I begin inkmothing him carefully. He has a gideon's lawkeeper out and I throw skithiryx down and he panics a bit holding back from swings with a considerable board. I drop a lashwrithe and get ready to finish him handing it to an inkmoth and swinging with both... still need another turn and lashwrithe is a great blocker here. He untaps and crashes in with a considerable amount of pump and hero of bladehold and captains and battle cry and after doing the math for like 3 minutes and considering blocks in multiple ways (big wolf... then hero or captain to first strike away human pumps) I ultimately to the conclusion he has 15 damage for my 15 life after he lawkeepers down my lashwrithe germ. 1-2I take a box home and the sweet playmat.Here's a better deck:[DECK]4 Plague Stinger4 Whispering Specter4 Phyrexian Crusader3 Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon4 Virulent Wound3 Tribute to Hunger3 Doom Blade4 Tezzeret's Gambit2 Postmortem Lunge4 Lashwrithe1 Phyrexian Metamorph4 Inkmoth Nexus20 SwampSideboard4 Despise4 Ghost Quarter4 Sever the Bloodline3 Surgical Extraction[/DECK]The basic premise post board in this deck is now critical to your ability to determine if you're the beatdown or the control deck. Once you establish that you can determine if you need to bring in removal for faster decks... or disruption for slower decks. Once you know that the boarding gets easy and determining keep-able hands becomes trivial.TL;DR, neener neener S1.
It's nice to finally get a response to the feedback we've been giving for ages, but "it can't be done" is a bit of a weak response. Just give a possible replacement for each rare or expensive card. It doesn't have to be as strong, it just has to fill the same role. That way, people can decide for themselves what they do and how much they buy.
Anyway, I think the article would receive more clout for being innovative. I don't mean you have to break the format every week, but you could at least try stuff that's unheard of. Spider Spawning, Undead Alchemist, Black Weenie aggro, Big Red, Past in Flames, Mirror Mad Maniac.dek, garaging the Event Decks, some random BR Control stuff you had an idea about from a draft, etc.It's stuff like that that the memberbase is looking into. We check out certain cards and we just wish so hard there was a way to play it with justice at an FNM, but we're either like many of us who don't know where to start, or we're like me and simply don't have the time to mess with every single cool idea I've thought about or talked about at locals. But you do have time for that. I think you'd catch a lot less heat if you tried to hit some more of the fun ideas lurking in T2 that nobody tries because it doesn't run 4 Snapcaster or it runs Inexorable Tide, stuff like that. As a player, you'll get the challenge of finding a good angle for a deck. As a fried, you'll get to see the hope and excitement from players who didn't think it could be done (like how Serious Fun goes down on a weekly basis). And as deckmaker, you'll get some respect for thinking outside the box constantly.Anyway, rant is just for future suggestions. Take some more chances with your deck ideas. You already do so sometimes, why not make it all the time?
Past incarnations of BOAB were about semi-competitive decks for playing in casual circles, which was fine in its own right, and I admit, more entertaining to read. That style fit the previous columnists. But Jacob Van Lunen, a Pro Tour competitor, does not want to stomp noobs who play unpolished decks in the casual room, and he does not show up in the competitive room with something he has no confidence in. That's not the kind of player he is.In my view, the column shifted from something entertaining to something useful for tournament competitors. I can see room for both of those things on this site. Keeping the same column name was the true mistake, because the content has become something completely different, and saying it's the same column when it really isn't could not help but provoking comparisons for years on end.
I've played a lot of matches with this deck, but I'd like to share how it plays against Green-White tokens because that's the most commonly played deck on Magic Online.
This deck performs incredibly well against green Wolf Run decks, red decks, token-based strategies, and the mirror. The deck has trouble with Birthing Pod decks, Blue-Black Control, and some Solar Flare variants.
JVL, Please, please focus on the budget part of your column. There are many resources that this and other websites have that focus on top tier competitive decks that cost $100 plus to build. There are even several places to read about rogue decks that are less expensive, but still competitive. This is the one place that ostensibly focuses on building inexpensive decks.
Please respect the limitations of players who choose to read a column called "Building on a Budget". A budget is a pre-established limit of expenditures. Even if you have to redefine what the budget is for each week, please offer decks that are accessible to players with real financial limitations. If you can’t do that consistently, then perhaps it would be more honest to change the name of the column.You may have “made a conscious decision to value the quality of [your] decks over their accessibility.” I and others like me are asking you to rethink that decision.
Speaking of Inkmoth Nexus, I've chosen to play four of them in this deck. The Inkmoth Nexus give this deck a huge amount of resilience to sorcery-speed removal and ground creatures. Two Lashwrithes should be enough to make just one attack lethal.
One thing that could be nice would be to remind the readers what cards from the featured deck are recycled from a previously featured deck. For example, Phyrexian Crusader, Lashwrithe and Despise showed up a few columns ago in "Knight of the Living Dead". So if people are using Building on a Budget as a buyer's guide, that's $30+ they don't have to spend this time around. $50 if you keep Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon.
But the key issue is still that the readers have very different values from the writer; JVL has indicated that being competitive is the kind of value he appreciates most, and so his articles obviously focus around getting the most competitive decks you can, for the amount of money invested - and getting more for your money is certainly 'budget'-friendly. It's important to realise that, given how he appears to value decks, he wouldn't consider a cheap, non-competitive deck 'budget' - because the lower investment is producing even lower value (which, again, he measures in terms of competitiveness), which would feel to him like a rip-off. He's aiming to help you get the most of your Magic-related investments, not just to help you spend as little as possible.
I hate to sound like a broken record but what most of the people here are saying is true. More budget, more innovation, more fun. Reading an article about a deck that is already being played but with slightly less expensive or useful cards is pretty boring. While some people might say that making a "budget" deck is easy if you don't have to worry about being competitve because you can just slap anything together, they are wrong. Just because a deck isn't competitive doesn't mean it doesn't have to be a good deck. Placing monetary restrictions (or any other restrictions for that matter) on a deck and then building it to the best of one's ability is what made this article so fun to read in the past. The pressure of having a budget means the deck builder has to come up with solutions other people would have never thought of and thus leads to innovation.
Perhaps we who are writing these pleas for a stricter budget are only the vocal few as opposed to the silent many, and if so I am prepared to be silent about his articles in the future. However if a majority are for a lower price range then I believe that JvL should adjust his article accordingly. He may be one to only like playing competitive decks but he shouldn't be writing articles for his own enjoyment, he should be writing articles for the enjoyment of his readers. Let the readers have a voiceand if he can't handle writing for his readers then I think WotC needs to find a new person to fill his shoes who will.
There's a good point to be made there, and one I missed making when I posted earlier. I do recall hearing JVL refer to certain cards as a good investment - that is, it's not just playability he's concerning himself with, but replayability. A $20 card that you can reasonably use in 4 decks is roughly as 'budget' as a $5 card you can only use in one; I've seen his columns being mindful of that fact in the past, and I think it's a good idea to make those sorts of considerations in a budget-oriented article.
Jesus, the guy adds a couple extra Inkmoth Nexus this one time and you're trying to make like it's an epidemic of excess.
Let's not forget JVL gave us a red/blue "Rareless and Careless" deck that went toe-to-toe with Caw Blade in standard before Jace and Stoneforge got banned, and a 3-turn combo win in Modern with "New York Eggs" just a couple months ago. Go look up the price tag on these decks:
Constructive criticism or get out.
the guy adds a couple extra Inkmoth Nexus this one time and you're trying to make like it's an epidemic of excess.Let's not forget JVL gave us a red/blue "Rareless and Careless" deck that went toe-to-toe with Caw Blade in standard before Jace and Stoneforge got banned, and a 3-turn combo win in Modern with "New York Eggs" just a couple months ago. Go look up the price tag on these decks:www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/Article.a...www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.a...